May 2014

May 30, 2014: Big Philadelphia Victories For Fair Wages and Education!

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Big Philadelphia Victories For Fair Wages and Education!

Check out our awesome collection of photos and tweets from Election Day and beyond on Storify!

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May 19, 2014: Subcontracted Airport Workers Fighting to Earn Decent Wages

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Subcontracted Airport Workers Fighting to Earn Decent Wages

poverty wages don't flyClick here to take just a minute to pledge to Vote “YES” on Ballot Question #1 tomorrow, May 20 to give PHL workers and others a raise!

It is a sad fact that Philadelphia is the worst big city in America for deep poverty and is desperate for good jobs.  Our city’s residents need a raise!  The federal minimum wage has been stuck at $7.25/hr since 2009, and some folks make even less because they are classified as tipped workers.  Thousands of these working poor are at one of the city’s economic powerhouses, Philadelphia International Airport.  It’s time for them to get a raise, and we have the power.  Philadelphia voters need to go to the polls tomorrow and vote “Yes” on ballot question one to demand that airport workers and others with city subcontractors aren’t paid poverty wages.

Philadelphia International Airport supports over 141,000 jobs in the Philadelphia region and brings more than $14 billion in economic activity to the area.  Airlines recently reported $12.7 BILLION in profits for 2013.  But airlines at the airport outsource passenger service jobs to low bid contractors to make even more profit. Sub-contracted airport workers who provide vital services to airlines such as cleaning terminals and aircraft, pushing wheelchairs, handling baggage, and performing security services to keep passengers safe make as little as $7.25 an hour with no access to affordable health benefits, including sick days. One of out of five subcontracted airport workers even reported going hungry last year.  These are not the kinds of jobs the city should be supporting.

Onetha Mcknight, a long time subcontracted worker at PHL, has been struggling to get by on low wages. “I have been a wheelchair attendant for six years at the airport. I have never received a raise. I started at $7.00 per hour and still make $7.00 per hour,” she said.  “I find it difficult to make ends meet on the poverty wages. I have a son and five grandchildren. I help out with my grandchildren. There’s not always enough left at the end of the month to pay my bills. At this time, I don’t have any health insurance and I have asthma and high blood pressure. My company offers health care, but there’s no way I can afford it. For about three months now, I have been without my medication. I have had accelerated heartbeats and headaches.”

Outsiders looking in assume working at the airport is a good job with healthcare benefits and fair pay, but that is far from the truth.  An estimated 2,000 airport workers are employed by airline subcontractors.  These workers make as little as $7.25/hr and rely heavily on public assistance. Surveys conducted by National Employment Law Project found:

  • 37.9% of surveyed workers received food stamps.
  •  37.9% of surveyed workers received public health insurance.
  • 16.9% of surveyed workers received childcare WIC.
  • 12.3% of surveyed workers received housing assistance.
  • 12.3% of surveyed workers received gas/electric heat assistance
  • 3.1% of surveyed workers received cash assistance TANF.

Giving these workers the opportunity to earn a living wage will not only benefit them, but it will also benefit the rest of Philadelphia. More money in the pockets of low-wage workers means more spending to help jolt our struggling economy. Raising the wage will also alleviate pressure on tax payers to pay for basic needs workers receive through public assistance.

Wheelchair attendant John Stewart says, “People have asked me: Why don’t you just get another job? The reality is that there are not great jobs just around the corner. I do this job out of necessity to pay my bills. I need to pay rent, for my food, my phone, for my trans pass. After I pay my bills, there is little left over. Living on the minimum wage is not easy. No one would choose to make this little if they had other options.”

You probably heard about Mayor Nutter’s recent executive order giving city subcontractors a raise.  We applaud and support the mayor’s decision to finally give these workers a raise, but we need to make sure this standard is right in the city charterWe can do that by voting YES ON ONE tomorrow.

Tomorrow, Philadelphia voters will have the chance to give Onetha and John and thousands of other airport workers a much-needed raise. You can do your part and cast your vote for airport workers who are fighting to improve jobs and get the economy moving again.

Click here to take just a minute to pledge to Vote “YES” on Ballot Question #1 tomorrow, May 20 to give PHL workers and others a raise!

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PCAPS to mark 60th anniversary of landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision with rally, march, picnic, and canvass in support of good schools and good jobs

Media Advisory

For Immediate Release

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Ron Whitehorne, 215-779-2672, ronw292@gmail.com

Jesse Kudler, 617-974-3684, jesse@fightforphilly.org

PCAPS to mark 60th anniversary of landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision with rally, march, picnic, and canvass in support of good schools and good jobs
Parents, students, teachers, and activists will demand full and equal funding for schools, spread the word about wage expansion ballot question and movement to abolish School Reform Commission

Event is part of national week of action

WHO:

PCAPS public school parents, teachers, students, activists, and supporters; Rep. Jim Roebuck, PFT President Jerry Jordan, Steel Elementary parent Kendra Brooks, Students from Philadelphia Student Union and Youth United for Change, SEIU 32BJ Area Leader Daisy Cruz, American Federation of Teachers PA President Ted Kirsch

WHAT:

Rally, march, picnic, and canvass for good jobs and good schools for 60th anniversary of Brown V. Board of Education

WHEN:

Saturday, May 17, 10am,  rain or shine

WHERE:

Bryant Elementary , 61st and Cedar Ave.

VISUAL:

Diverse crowd of students and parents, speakers, petitions

PhiladelphiaOn Saturday, the Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for public schools will observe the 60th anniversary of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision, which declared state laws establishing segregated public schools unconstitutional.  The event is part of a national week of action, “Fulfilling the Promise of Brown v. Board: Organizing for Educational Justice For All.”  Ralliers will call for our policymakers to recommit to the vision of equity and opportunity embodied in that U.S. Supreme Court decision.  Public education is under attack, and separate and unequal remains the reality for our communities. 

In the past, parents, students and teachers have been pitted against one another. Now, they are taking a stand together.  Parents, students, educators and community residents will rally and march at Bryant Elementary to demand full funding for schools, the end of the state-controlled School Reform Commission in favor of a locally-controlled school board, and the end of the school-to-prison pipeline.  Elected officials, labor leaders, parents, and students will talk about what we can do to fulfill the promise of true school desegregation and equal resources.

Like so many city public schools, Bryant has been devastated by budget cuts that have left it without a nurse on duty at all times. Governor Corbett and his allies have cut funding to the bone, putting our children at risk for educational failure and worse.

Activists will canvass the neighborhood collecting signatures on a petition to enact a Philadelphia ballot question demanding the end of the School Reform Commission and a return to local control. 

The market approach to education – closing schools, charter expansion, over-testing and harsh discipline – has de-stabilized entire neighborhoods, particularly in low-income communities of color.   Ending inequality is impossible without attacking poverty and challenging corporate power. Canvassers will also support the struggle to raise the minimum wage and improve the living conditions of working families in Philadelphia.  They will urge voters to support “Yes on One” for Tuesday’s Ballot Question to give a raise to thousands of city subcontractors at the airport and elsewhere.

The event will conclude with a celebratory picnic.

The five-point PCAPS education plan:

  • A fair funding formula that will distribute state dollars based on student needs and the local district’s ability to pay, not political fights.
  • More revenue for education and human services by closing corporate tax loopholes, taxing natural gas production, and cancelling prison expansion.
  • Holding charter schools accountable and giving local districts the power to monitor them.
  • Shutting down the school to prison pipeline. Replace harsh, zero tolerance policies that criminalize students for minor offenses with restorative justice.
  • Abolishing the School Reform Commission and returning our schools to local control.

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PCAPS is a coalition of students, parents, and teachers with an unwavering commitment to improving Philadelphia’s school system. Members of the coalition include ACTION United, American Federation of Teachers PA, AFL-CIO Central Labor Council Fight For Philly, Jewish Labor Committee, Jobs With Justice, JUNTOS, Media Mobilizing Project, Neighborhood Networks, Occupy Philadelphia Labor Work Group, Philadelphians Allied for a Responsible Economy(PHARE), Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, Philadelphia Home and School Council, Philadelphia Student Union, SEIU 32BJ, UNITE HERE, Youth United for Change.

http://www.wearepcaps.org

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Philadelphia Fast Food Workers to Hold First-Ever Strike, Demanding $15/hr and the Right to Form a Union Without Retaliation

Media Advisory

 

For Immediate Release

Thursday, May 15, 2014, 8am

Jesse Kudler: 617-974-3684, jesse@fightforphilly.org

 

Philadelphia Fast Food Workers to Hold First-Ever Strike, Demanding $15/hr and the Right to Form a Union Without Retaliation

 

Local Fast Food Workers Join Movement that has now gone global; Strikes in 150 US cities, protests in nearly three dozen countries

‘For the Fast Food Industry…the issue that just won’t go away’—USA Today 

WHO:

Dozens of striking fast food workers from McDonald’s, Burger King, Subway, Popeye’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, KFC, and others; low wage airport workers; supporters; PA Sen. Christine Tartaglione; PA Rep. Stephen Kinsey; Pastor Larry Patrick; other speakers

WHAT:

First-ever Philadelphia fast food strike

WHEN:

Strike rally Thursday, May 15, 8am, followed by march to rally at Broad and Arch at 9:30am

WHERE:

8am at McDonald’s at Broad and Girard, marching to McDonald’s at Broad and Arch for 9:30am rally

VISUAL:

Strikers, diverse crowd, march, signs, fast food store backdrops

 

 

 

Philadelphia – Calling for $15/hr and the right to form a union without retaliation, fast food workers in Philadelphia will walk off their jobs for the first time ever Thursday as part of a wave of strikes and protests in 150 cities across the US and 33 additional countries on six continents. 

Workers in Philadelphia are calling for $15/hr and the right to form a union without retaliation. They are expected to strike at Philadelphia’s major fast food restaurants, including McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s and KFC. Clergy, elected officials, and community supporters will join fast food workers on the strike lines.

In the US, strikes are expected in cities from Los Angeles to Boston, including the first-ever walkouts in Miami, Orlando, Philadelphia and Sacramento, as the campaign for $15/hr and the right to form a union without retaliation grows. Around the world, workers are planning major protests in at least 33 countries, spanning 80 cities, including in Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Germany, India, Japan, Malawi, Morocco, New Zealand, Panama, and the United Kingdom.

In Wilmington, DE, workers will strike for the third time:

-10:00 am: Strike Rally at McDonald’s 700 W. 4th St. Wilmington, DE, 19801 

-11:00 am: Community Rally outside the County Building 800 N. French St. Wilmington, DE, 19801 ‎

Background: 

A campaign that started in New York City in November 2012, with 200 fast food workers walking off their jobs demanding $15 and the right to form a union without retaliation, has since spread to more than 150 cities in every region of the country, including the South—and now around the world. The growing fight for $15 has been credited with elevating the debate around inequality in the U.S. When Seattle’s mayor proposed a $15 minimum wage earlier this month, Businessweek said he was “adopting the rallying cry of fast food workers.” 

As it spreads, the movement is challenging fast food companies’ outdated notion that their workers are teenagers looking for pocket change. Today’s workers are mothers and fathers struggling to raise children on wages that are too low. And they’re showing the industry that if it doesn’t raise pay, it will continue to be at the center of the national debate on what’s wrong with our economy. 

Earlier this year, workers in three states filed class-action suits against McDonald’s alleging widespread and systematic wage theft. And in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, McDonald’s said worker protests might force it to raise wages this year. With shareholder meeting season upon us, and a recent report showing the industry has by far the largest disparity between worker and CEO pay, scrutiny on fast food companies is bound to intensify. USA Today called the growing worker movement, “the issue that just won’t go away” for the fast food industry. 

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 Fight for Philly is a grassroots organization fighting for good schools, good jobs, a fair economy, and a city that works for all of us.

info@fightforphilly.org * (215) 232-3792 * http://fightforphilly.org

 

 

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